Friday, September 28, 2007

Autumnal Toast

It's time to taste the Cherry Brandy!
Here's a Autumn.

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.

~Emily Dickinson
Here's the recipe for the cherry brandy
that Isabella in the 21st Century
kindly shared with her readers back in July --
Cherry Picking Time.
This recipe is in her own words. It's best this way.
If you're out there "Isabella," thank you,
and please know how much you are missed.
My grandparents used to make something similar to this,
but they called theirs "Boozy Fruit."
They used combinations
of fruit in their concoction. The jar
was left on the counter and the
multi-colored fruits were very pretty to see.
The fruit was wonderful over ice cream --
so the adults said.
Cherry Brandy
By: Isabella in the 21st Century (Natalie)

This would be a useful addition to any lady's
medicine cabinet so I thought I'd share the recipe.

You Will Need:
Enough good (washed) cherries to fill a jar,
2 oz sugar to every lb. of cherries.
Brandy to cover...supermarket brand,
not really good stuff or bath tub hooch.
A largish jar, well cleaned.

Prick your cherries and put them into the jar. Sprinkle sugar over them and cover with brandy, you want to completely cover them! Put the lid on the jar and fancy it up a little (cherry brandy deserves fancy) do not open for at least 2 months, you want the brandy to taste like cherries and the cherries to taste like brandy. Remember not to faint until the brandy is ready! There are culinary uses for cherry brandy, or so I'm told. I imagine they would be Black Forest Gateaux (who buys kirsch??) and trifle. Cherry brandy makes a nice people with nervous dispositions who often need reviving of course!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Where there's smoke......

....there's fire.
If you look closely on the left-hand side, you can see
Hubby turning out of our drive to go to the fire.

The wind is really stoking it.

We just stepped out onto the front porch after lunch
and saw what looked like smoke
mingling amongst the clouds.
Sure enough, after one phone call to a neighbor,
we found the source of the fire
which appears to be hay bales burning in a field.
Hubby was out the door and in the fire truck in minutes.
The fire, as of now, is about 10-12 miles away,
but there's a strong wind picking up.
Fall is a season that often brings grass fires to the prairie.
Prayers are going up like smoke to God.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A proposal....

Somewhere in this beautiful canyon
on a September day
a godly, young man
asked our only daughter
to be his wife.
And she said, "Yes."

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Foundations is an old fashioned word for "underthings."
I know that this may not be a topic that many of you wish to read about or talk about, but if you're at all like me, you can be excited over finding a bra that fits perfectly, feels good on, and looks terrific under your t-shirt. So thrilled, that you want to tell the world! I'm here to tell you that I found (after trying on at least a dozen) a bra that I like. It's called Ambrielle™ Smooth Revolution™ Full-Coverage Bra. I found mine at JC Penney's. If you're out shopping for "foundations" this fall, you might want to give this one a try!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fresh From God.....

Welcome to my niece,
Savannah Ray
And nephew,
Mason Benjamin
Both September babies!
Congratulations Moms and Dads!

I love these little people;
and it is not a slight thing when they,
who are so fresh from God,
love us.
~Charles Dickens
The Old Curiosity Shop (1812 - 1870)
Picture by Niccolo Berrettoni at

Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday is Wash Day

The clothesline was busy today since today is Wash Day. I'm not legalistic about it, but I almost always wash the sheets on Monday. It's a routine that I learned when I lived at home as a girl, and I have instituted this simple practice in my own home. Everyone knows that Monday is the day to strip their beds and carry sheets down to the laundry room.

We had a gentle breeze today, perfect for hanging out the clothes, which is not always the case here on the prairie. Most often the wind is strong and persistant and would prefer to tear the clothes from the line and tumble them across the plains into South Dakota. The temperature went up into the 80's today so drying time was short and thorough, and yet........ gentle.

This set of sheets belongs in our bedroom, as you can see by the embroidered pillowslips -- "Mom, Dad." They were embroidered by one of our sons (yes, I said sons) as a Christmas gift to us a few years ago.

Lest you think that Hanging Out the Clothes is a romantical kind of thing, let me assure you, it isn't always. I do enjoy this simple chore although sometimes the clothesline has to be cleared in a hurry as it was today when my eldest son decided it was time to haul gravel in the Big Truck, to and fro, on the loose-gravel road next to our house. The dust cloud he creates driving by is enough to make me a sprinter!

Also, when you bring in laundry on a fall day like this, you must shake everything out carefully to "set free" the wasps that like to hover in and out of pants legs and arm holes. It's a nasty thing to put on a pair of clean jeans and get stung by a wasp who was neatly folded and stored in a dresser drawer.

Do you have weekly or daily routines that you keep?

I wanted to give you a glimpse of what my backyard looks like now that it's September. It's dried up, tired, and ready to lay its seeds down to rest. Such is fall.

While pulling up some weeds in the yard, I spied this furry little creature. As I looked around me, I noticed they were everywhere. When I went back inside for a drink of water, I took out my trusty field guide to see if I could find him, and I'd say he's an Acraea Moth (well, not just yet). He's a fuzzy caterpillar just now.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

September Sunday Dinner

One more bit of Autumn Bliss to share.

Garlic-roasted Pork Loin
Roasted Veggies
Warm Gingerbread with Whipped Cream

Here's the recipe from Emeril Lagasse:

Garlic Roasted Pork Loin:

2 1/2 to 3 1/2 pound boned pork loin
8 large cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Olive oil
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Place a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to coat the bottom and heat. Season the pork loin with salt and pepper. Sear loin on all sides until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

In a food processor, combine the garlic, rosemary, sage, and thyme. Process until smooth. Add enough oil to make the mixture a good, spreadable consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
Remove the pork from the heat. Carefully rub the garlic/herb mixture over the pork loin.
Roast until an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the roast registers an internal temperature of 140 degrees F, about 40 to 45 minutes at 375*
(This recipe also had a raspberry glaze with it, but my family doesn't like that sort of thing on their meat, so I omitted it. If you'd like to see the entire recipe, click here.)

The Roasted Veggies were just that -- veggies (potatoes, broccoli, baby onions, garlic, mushrooms, apple chunks) all chopped and tossed with olive oil, salt & pepper. I roasted them alongside the pork loin for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally.

Now for the finale'.......
Warm Gingerbread

1/2 c. butter
2 T. fresh-grated ginger
1/4 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. allspice
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. black ground pepper
1/2 c. dark brown sugar
1 c. dark molasses
1 t. spicy brown mustard
2 eggs
2 t. baking soda
2 1/4 c. flour
1 c. hot strong-brewed coffee
powdered sugar

Combine butter and fresh ginger in saucepan. Simmer until aromatic, 3-5 min. Stir in salt, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, pepper and simmer another 30 seconds. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl mix spice mixture and stir in sugar, molasses, and mustard until smooth. Mix in eggs and soda until it foams. Stir in flour and beat well. Mix in coffee until smooth. Pour into greased 9x9" pan, dusted with flour. Bake at 375* for 40-45 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove. Dust cake with powdered sugar and a stencil. Serve warm with whipped cream.

And it was GOOD!
Autumn Bliss!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Autumn Corners

In celebration of Autumn Bliss,
here's a little corner of my world.....
my front porch.
The apple garland is strung
around part of an old piece of harness,
and you'll see some of the fabric leaves
that Clarice from Storybook Woods
showed me how to make last fall,
hanging on the wooden pumpkin plaque.
The white flowers are wild
heath asters that I picked from the pasture.

And here's another corner.....
A sun setting in the West corner of our yard,
taken by my son, the aspiring photographer, Seth.
Autumn Bliss!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

When the Frost is on the Punkin...

When the Frost is on the Punkin
~By James Whitcomb Riley

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then's the times a feller is a-feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

Tonight I went out to gather up the rest of the ripe and nearly-ripe tomatoes and then covered up the vines with blankets and sheets. My daughter-in-love brought over her ripe, orange "punkins" to store in our garage, and she'll be covering up her big, green ones that are still on the vine for the night. We're expecting the first frost of the season and then, as it so often happens out here, it's supposed to turn nice and warm again. September is the month of covering and uncovering flowers and veggies to protect them from the frost. I like to pull the pots of geraniums and baskets of petunias in close to the house on the porch for as long as I can. I enjoy s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g out the season for as long as possible....

They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here --
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossoms on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin' birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock --
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

Click here to read the rest of the poem....

Clarice at Storybook Woods is celebrating Autumn Bliss this week. Please stop by and see all her beautiful ideas to enhance your hearth and home this fall.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tools of the Trade

Yesterday was yet another day of "preserving the apple." A dear friend came over with 4 bushels of apples from her dad's garden/orchard -- two baskets of red, sweet apples, and two baskets of little, green apples that took FOREVER too cook and soften. We ended up making 60 quarts of apple sauce and apple butter combined. Another profitable, satisfying day's work. My friend took most of the apple jars home with her since my DIL and I had plenty from our own apple processing days and she has 6 children at home to feed.

Since I'm in the Season of Preserving, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite tools. This apple-peeler-corer-slicer is the Cat's Meow. I absolutely love this tool and use it all year round to make apple pies, crisps, or just to peel and slices apples for salads. And yes, it works for potatoes too, but I rarely use it for them. One of my all-time-favorite catalogs is Urban Homemaker, where you can find lots of quality "tools of the trade" for a reasonable price. This is not an advertisement, but I highly recommend Marilyn Moll's enterprise. She really cares about home and health.

The other favorite "Apple Tool" is my Villaware Food Strainer, another great purchase I made at Urban Homemaker. You pour cooked fruit (apples) in, take a few cranks on the handle and the sauce comes through the trough while the seeds and peels come out the other end. With different sized screens, you can strain other fruits/veggies too. I mainly use mine for apples though. My son and I tried processing cherries through it and nearly locked the whole thing up with the large seed-pits. So stick to using the recommended screens on this fine tool.

Happy Harvesting!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Tea Towels

I've been inspired once again by Deb over at Homespun Living who first caught my eye with her redwork teapots and then again with her camper trailer.

I made this redwork tea towel a couple months ago and have completed another one to make a set. After seeing Deb's camper, I just knew I had to make it -- the perfect little Christmas gift for my parents who love to camp in their Mini-Wini. I'm hoping they'll take it along with them in the camper and think of me as they travel.

To think, I finished my camper-trailer project while rooting on the Family Favorite Football Team -- the Denver Broncos! And they won in the last seconds!! Yay Team!

If you like the teapots embroidery pattern, you can print it off free here at Ladies in Red.
If you like the camping pattern, you can find the pattern at Sublime Stitching.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

How Many Mugs Does One House Need?

Twenty-five and five go-mugs!

FAR TOO many!

After opening the cupboard door to retrieve the mugs for our morning coffee,

the go-mugs fell on me from the top shelf so........

I decided it must be time to pick 'n' choose which ones will stay and which ones
must be sent to the storage box
(until the day when we have a small army to serve coffee to).
The problem is this:
I already have a large box of mugs down in the Dungeon.
I don't know why I don't just dump them and be done with it,
but how can I?
Some of them were gifts from friends,
some mugs I bought especially
for my Hubby and children.
Maybe if I store them long enough, they'll be valuable -- antique!
This time of year we love our hot coffee, tea, and cocoa,
so we do need several mugs -- really, we do!

Now it's time for my afternoon cuppa, and guess what?
There are only ELEVEN mugs to choose from!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Woman's Work and a Simple Life

I encourage you to go on over to Isabella in the 21st Century's blog and read the article: Woman's Work and a Simple Life. If you are a wife, a mother, a homemaker, or someone who appreciates those who claim these titles, you will be encouraged and enlightened. Thank you, "Isabella" for sharing your heart with us.

Addendum: Another articulate and heartfelt article on "The Family" can be read over at Little Jenny Wren's blog. Pour yourself a cuppa and spend some time reading these valuable articles. Thanks ladies!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Preserving the Apple

It is finished!
(until we get another few buckets more from a friend)
My daughter-in-love and stepmom helped me in the making
of apple sauce and apple juice this week.
We counted 37 quarts of golden apple sauce and apple butter combined
and 26 quarts of beautiful crimson crab apple juice
which we will use to make jellies later.

My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree

Toward heaven still.

And there's a barrel that I didn't fill

Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.

~Robert Frost from "After Apple Picking"


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